Sat at my desk working Tuesday, cranking out the Phil Forte story and a matchup analysis of tonight’s massive OSU-KU clash in Gallagher-Iba Arena, when the phone rang and Eddie Sutton’s voice boomed on the other end.Always a pleasure to talk to Eddie, he was kindly calling to tell me how much he enjoyed my Marcus Smart piece that ran Saturday.
“Really enjoyed that story,” Eddie said. “I thought it was a great piece. Need more stories like that. More positive stories.”
Of course, as I told Eddie, the good stories are made by great subjects. As writers, we just try to stay out of the way and let the story tell itself.
Still, I thanked him, and he went on to talk about Smart, saying that after sticking around for the Cowgirls game Saturday, following the Bedlam overtime win, he ran into the Cowboys freshman in a hallway at GIA.
“He came up to me and I told him he could have played for me,” Eddie said, “that he’s a throwback player and I really appreciated the way he plays. He just smiled, seemed to really enjoy it.
“I think he’s the second-best freshman of the Big 12 era, behind (Kevin) Durant. Maybe (Michael) Beasley, but he’s special.”
And I’m sure Smart did enjoy it. He’s got a sense of history and tradition and is a kid with maturity beyond his years, partly because he was forced to grow up quick in the face of so much danger and struggle around him.
And Smart most definitely would have thrived just the same under Eddie, who was quite demanding. But if you’ve seen Smart play, you know hard work and toughness are nothing new to his makeup. In fact, I’d feel for anybody else on the floor, if Smart had donned the football pads for one of Eddie’s legendary get-tough practices.
While I had Eddie on the phone, I asked him about this Cowboys team, which he’s seen several times in person at GIA (and yes, he plans to be there tonight).
“I think they’re really good,” he said. “I think they’ll win the Big 12 championship. It’s the most talent they’ve had around here in a long time.”